International tribunal prosecutor to present Lesar Lecture

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International tribunal prosecutor to present Lesar Lecture

International tribunal prosecutor to present Lesar Lecture

March 26, 2018, by Pete Rosenbery

photo credit Tricia Koning

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The supervising prosecutor in the trial of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić will present the 2018 Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Lecture next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Adam Weber, whose wide experience ranges from prosecuting street-level narcotics cases as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County to mass atrocities involving ethnic cleansing campaigns, will present “The Legacy of International Tribunals and the Mladić Case.” The lecture is at 5 p.m., March 27, in the SIU School of Law Auditorium.

This is the 21st lecture in the series established in 1992 to honor founding Dean Hiram H. Lesar. The lecture is free and the public is welcome.


Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the Lesar Distinguished Lecture with Adam Weber at 5 p.m., March 27, in the auditorium in the SIU School of Law. For more information or to arrange interviews contact Diane Regan, the law school’s interim director of communication and alumni outreach, at 618/453-8768.


Headed a portion of the Mladić prosecution

From April 2008 until February 2018, Weber worked with the United Nations-backed International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands. Established in 1993, the international court was the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremburg following World War II.

The tribunal was established to try those responsible for war crimes committed in the Balkans and it concluded its work in December 2017.

Weber’s work over the last nine years of the ICTY included successful prosecution of senior political, police and military officials, including Milan Lukić, a senior paramilitary leader responsible for mass murders in Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Weber was the lead prosecutor for the Sarajevo component of the trial against Mladić, nicknamed the “butcher of Bosnia.” Mladić was convicted of committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison in November 2017. At Mladić’s trial, Weber oversaw presentation of evidence pertaining to the 44-month siege of Sarajevo and evidence relating to the Bosnian Serb ethnic cleansing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina and genocide committed in Srebrenica.

Criminal tribunal’s importance will be a focus of lecture

Weber will discuss the inner workings of the court, its challenges and successes, said Cindy Buys, professor, director of the law school’s international law program, and acting associate dean for academic affairs.

The tribunal was “in many ways, a grand experiment,” Buys said.

“It was an attempt to bring to justice persons who had committed some of the most heinous crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Buys said. “While it was subjected to criticism for its slow pace and for decisions that some believed to be biased, the ICTY accomplished incredibly important work, including the creation of a historical record and giving voice to thousands of victims.”

Prosecuting career started in Cook County

From March 2001 through April 2008, Weber was an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, where he successfully prosecuted more than 250 felony bench and jury trials. He also supervised the prosecution of felony cases, setting the direction of the case managing the personnel assigned to the prosecuting team.

Prior to working as a prosecutor, Weber was an associate attorney with Gould & Ratner in Chicago. He also taught trial advocacy at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. He earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1999 and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa in 1995.

Lecture honors founding dean

Hiram H. Lesar was the first dean of the SIU School of Law, which was established in 1973. While he retired as dean in 1980, Lesar continued to teach at the law school. Lesar died in 1997. In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Founders’ Medal by the School of Law, the highest honor awarded by the law school.